Fishers resident recognized for civil rights work


Fishers resident Rupal Thanawala was awarded the Coleman-Staples Award by the Indiana Civil Right Commission during a Jan. 11 celebration at the Indiana State House in connection with the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday.

Thanawala is board president of the Asian American Alliance, Inc., and is president and CEO of Trident Systems, a Fishers-based global consulting firm.

According to the Indiana Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Commission, which co-hosted the celebration, the Coleman-Staples Award is inspired by a quote by King and is presented to an individual who is committed to fighting for civil rights.

The quote is: “Whatever career you may choose for yourself — doctor, lawyer, teacher — let me propose an avocation to be pursued along with it. Become a dedicated fighter for civil rights. Make it a central part of your life … it will make you a better doctor, a better lawyer, a better teacher. It will enrich your spirit as nothing else possibly can. It will give you that rare sense of nobility that can only spring from love and selflessly helping your fellow man. Make a career of humanity. Commit yourself to the noble struggle for equal rights. You will make a better person of yourself, a greater nation of your country and a finer world to live in.”

The Jan. 11 ceremony marked the 33rd annual celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. award recipients, according to a social media post from the Indiana Civil Rights Commission. Four Hoosiers were recognized.

“These awards are given to individuals that follow in the footsteps of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in pursuit of equality, social justice and opportunities for all Hoosiers,” the post stated.

The awards were presented in the North Atrium of the Indiana State House. Gov. Eric Holcomb was present at the event, which also was co-hosted by Indiana Black Expo, Inc., and AFSCME #725.

Other award recipients were Kendra Nowell, CEO of CAFE, who received The Rev. Charles Williams Award; Shontrai Irving, clinical associate professor of business law, who received the Sam Jones Award; and Sally Tuttle, vice chair of The American Indian Center of Indiana, Inc., who received the Humanitarian Award.